6 Reasons Your Childhood Friends Will Always Be Important, No Matter What Adult Life Throws At You

It was the first Friday night of college and I was alone. My roommate, who'd just gotten into her sorority of choice, was partying with her new sisters, and the entire dorm hallway was empty. Everyone was out making the most of freshman year, which is often touted as the greatest time in a college student's life. I was less than a week into my first semester, but I immediately knew that wouldn't be true for me. That night, I called my best childhood friend Crystal — who had another month and a half left before starting at UC Davis — looking for some guidance.

"College is nothing like they said it'd be," I told her. "I wanted this for so long and now I have nobody." "You've got me," she replied. "Nikita, Lauren, and I will be there for you, no matter what."

Almost nine years later, her words still hold up. Since graduating in 2010, I've drifted apart from a lot of people I met in school, but my childhood childhood friends and I can always pick up where we left off. And I know my friends and I are not unique — as we grow older, many of us realize that the friends we make when we're young are the people who knows us best, the people we trust the most and the people we can always count on. Here are six reasons why childhood friendships are particularly special.

1. They've Seen You At Your Worst (And Still Like You)

Sure, you're a well-adjusted, confident adult these days. But long before that, you went through an intense awkward phase — which your childhood friends endured at the same time. They were there when you applied too much roll-on glitter to your cheeks before school dances, got picked last for softball games in P.E., were scolded by some mean-spirited teacher, and started shaving your legs against your mother's wishes. Others might be shocked to hear you haven't always been a glamorous beauty, but your childhood friends still have that awkward image of you in their heads, and that's why they can fully appreciate your awesomeness now.

2. You Had Your First Inside Jokes Together

Never in a million years would you divulge your silly childhood inside jokes to friends you made at college or work — but you can still laugh about these things with your old friends. Every once in a while, I reveal a ridiculous childhood inside joke to my boyfriend (just so he knows exactly what he's dealing with), but no outsider will ever fully understand the nonsensical, goofy world my childhood pals and I created.

3. They Really Know Your Family

Since they got to know your family so well while you were all growing up, they're probably the only friends you'll allow to make fun of your hokey relatives. They've also seen your household members unhinged and unfiltered, and they know all your family secrets. Your parents and siblings didn't bother putting on a show for your friends — which is why they were always able to support you when things weren't going well at home.

4. They Have Always Had Your Back

Whether you were bullied, had family issues, or struggled immensely in school, your childhood friends lived through it alongside you, doing all they could to help (even though they were kids themselves, and sometimes unaware of the best way to improve the situation). When my dad passed away during my senior year of high school, my friends bought flowers and came to the funeral. In many ways, they felt like they were losing a parent, too, because they'd interacted with him so much over the previous nine years. New people in my life will never fully know what it was like to go through all that, but my childhood friends always will.

5. You Have A Strong Foundation With Each Other

It's very easy for new friendships to fizzle out when you have little in common aside from a single shared experience, like attending the same college or working in the same office. But you and your childhood friends have the same history, which can inform your behavior for the rest of your life. You may have gone your separate ways and live on opposite sides of the country now, but you'll forever have an understanding of the other person's background — and that understanding goes a long way when you are a busy adult.

6. They Are Completely Honest With You

Whenever I need to rant about something that I know is petty and will sound absurd to friends who don't know me very well, I text one of my childhood pals. They can understand where I'm coming from and identify why this particular issue is bugging me so much. They can also remind me that I've had a chip on my shoulder for pretty much my whole life. It's easy to take get offended when the individual giving you tough love hasn't known you for very long, but when your childhood friends call you out, you know it's warranted. Because you know your childhood friends don't have an agenda — just love for you.

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